A common theme among my presentations on the topic of reputation management is, your personal reputation is the same as your company reputation.
In other words, your actions in your personal life can affect your company’s reputation. Adam Smith discovered this lesson the hard way.
No matter which side of the Chick-fil-a debate you’re on, you’ll probably agree that bullying a restaurant employee at a drive through, capturing it on video, then posting it to the web, is not a good idea. Unfortunately, Adam Smith did not foresee the consequences of his actions and has now lost his job.
Smith’s employer released a statement, which reads in part (emphasis mine)…
The actions of Mr. Smith do not reflect our corporate values in any manner. Vante is an equal opportunity company with a diverse workforce, which holds diverse opinions. We respect the right of our employees and all Americans to hold and express their personal opinions, however, we also expect our company officers to behave in a manner commensurate with their position and in a respectful fashion that conveys these values of civility with others
Chick-fil-a CEO Dan Cathy is learning his lesson: that his personal, public actions become part of the company’s reputation. Adam Smith is earning an equally hard lesson.